Archive for April, 2014


Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow: BIRTHDAYS

Yesterday: Born on 28th April

Penélope Cruz et al 28th April

Today & Tomorrow

29th & 30th April B'days

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

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Yesterday evening I watched Futures Vedettes (1954/55) on TV5 MONDE. The Films English titles include School of Love and Sweet Sixteen.
Futures VedettesFutures Vedettes  is an enjoyable little melodrama from the 1950’s, made just before the ‘French New Wave’ was to sweep away the classic polished style of commercial French cinema. Directed by Marc Allégret, the movie stars Jean Marais and a young Brigitte Bardot in the lead.

Jean Marais and Brigitte Bardot

Jean Marais and Brigitte Bardot

The story is about two young students, Sophie Dimater (Brigitte Bardot) and Élis/Élisa Petersen (Isabelle Pia), at a prestigious Vienna Conservatory, who fall madly in love with their dashing teacher, famed tenor, Eric Walter (Jean Marais), assuming he is separated with his wife for good. But the truth is, Eric; who is very much in love with his wife, a famous Opera singer, Marie Koukowska-Walter (Denise Noël), and since she’s a busy soprano travelling around for various performances; only uses the two teenage girls for his amusement while his wife is away. Once the girls realise that he’s been using both of them (each was unaware of the others involvement with the teacher); and Eric’s wife returns with a fatal throat and lung ailment, and has to discontinue her singing career; the movie veers towards a tragic ending. But we are in for a surprise.

Sweet Sixteen: Brigitte Bardot in 'Futures Vedettes'

Sweet Sixteen: Brigitte Bardot in ‘Futures Vedettes’

Jean Marais is suave and sophisticated as ever as the tenor. Brigitte Bardot is beautiful and perfect as the naïve yet sensual teenager. And rest of the cast is really spot on. The movie does slow down a bit in the middle, but manages to catch up. The beginning is comical, the latter sad. Yet, it ends on better note than anticipated.

'You too!' Sophie realises that Eric has seduced weak-willed Élis as well. (Isabelle Pia and Brigitte Bardot in a scene from the movie.)

‘You too!’ Sophie realises that Eric has seduced weak-willed Élis as well. (Isabelle Pia and Brigitte Bardot in a scene from the movie.)

A Beautifully shot Black and White movie, nice music, and a beautiful rendition of the Operatic version of Tristan and Isolde towards the end, with Brigitte Bardot’s character Sophie performing ‘Isolde’, inputting her own tragedy to enhance the performance of ‘Isolde’.

A Very Good Movie worth checking out, especially if you are fan of Brigitte Bardot. 8/10

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

TinTin Film Poster

Late last year, I watched Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin (2011), when it premiered on the cable network ‘Star Movies’. I really enjoyed Spielberg’s animated take on Hergé’s Tintin comics, and thought it was a very good adaptation of a classic series of comic books. My personal favourite series of comics, ever since I was kid, that age well and are timeless classics that surpass borders, and that have no age limit. And I re-watched it last night when it was re-telecast on ‘Star Movies’ itself. My original rating remains.

Of course it’s very different to the books, but Steven Spielberg has managed to capture the spirit of the books. The main plot revolves around The Secret of the Unicorn, which blends in a couple of other books too. I re-read The Secret of the Unicorn last year after my original viewing of Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin. How different are the book and the movie? For one thing, the main villain of the movie, is just a minor character in the book and neither a villain nor the descendant of the pirate Red Rackham, Ivan Sakharine (both Rackham and Sakharine, voiced by Daniel Craig). And the real villains of the book, the Bird brothers, just have a cameo in the beginning of the movie. Thus the whole story is different to the book, except for the concept that revolves around the sunken ship, The Unicorn, and the treasure buried along with it.

The animation is excellent and would have looked great on 3D. I am not crazy about watching stuff in 3D, not that I dislike it, but it’s not a necessity for me. A good movie should work well, whether it’s on 3D or not. Saying that, I most probably would have watched The Adventures of Tintin on 3D, if I had the chance to do so. What I did not fancy about the animation was that all the people looked robotic. In fact, older, hand drawn, cartoons, made their characters seem more flexible. Tintin and his friends and enemies all seemed like wax models forced to move about, with very stiff turns and very little expressions. The only creature who was the most active, and adorably felt so real, was none other than ‘Snowy’, Tintin’s faithful companion, the ‘common mongrel’, the beloved little white fluff of a dog. The only creature with a pulse, with the exception of Snowy’s own personal arch enemy, the cat.
Tintin film pics
Spielberg had originally acquired the rights to the movie, from Hergé’s wife in 1983, the same week that Hergé passed away. By the following year Spielberg was ready to start a live action movie with a script about Tintin battling ivory hunters in Africa, and had wanted actor Jack Nicholson to play Haddock. But Spielberg wasn’t that satisfied with the script and returned the rights to the Hergé Foundation. In 2001, Spielberg was interested in depicting Tintin with computer animation, but later reverted to his idea of a live-action adaptation. All this hullabaloo over the Tintin films was going nowhere, and ultimately in 2008, they decided to make this movie that was released in 2011. Even then, due to many a delays, a lot of changes took place, resulting in,  actor Thomas Sangster, who was originally cast to voice Tintin, walking out of the project.

Tintin was ultimately voiced by Jamie Bell, Captain Haddock by Andy Serkis and Thomson & Thompson by Nick Frost & Simon Pegg respectively. Snowy, like many a previous adaptations, has no voice. In the sense, we can’t hear what it thinks. All it can do is bark, growl and whine like an ordinary dog.

All in all, this movie is worth checking out by any die hard Tintin fan. Would Hergé have been proud of this adaptation? That’s hard to say, but the movie does capture the essence of Hergé’s classic series of comic books.

A Very Good Movie. 8/10

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
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Birthdays This Weekend

Yesterday was their Birthday

More BD 19th April

Today is their Birthday

Born on 20th April

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

William Wordsworth, Abraham Lincoln and the Titanic

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

The 14th Century

  • 1367 – Future King of England, Henry IV, is born.

The 15th Century

  • 1452 – The birth of Leonardo da Vinci. One of greatest Italian Renaissance artists ever, who was a genius painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.
With Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' at the Louvre, Paris, France (July 2008)

With Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ at the Louvre, Paris, France (July 2008)

The 19th Century

  • 1802 – William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, come across a long belt of daffodils, whilst on a walk around Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater, in the English Lake District, United Kingdom; which inspires Wordsworth to pen the poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (a.k.a. Daffodils).

 

  • 1843 – The Birth of American Author, Henry James.

 

  • 1865 – After being in a coma for nine hours; having been shot on the head the night before, by actor John Wilkes Booth; President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln, succumbs to his injuries and dies at 7:22 a.m.

 

  • 1889 – Artist, Thomas Hart Benton, is born.

 

  • 1896 – Closing Ceremony of the very first modern day Olympic Games, Summer Olympics 1896, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, takes place in Athens, Greece. The multi-sport event was held between 6th and 15th of April 1896.
Abe Lincoln & The Titanic

Abe Lincoln & The Titanic

The 20th Century

  • 1912 – Two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg, the British passenger liner, RMS Titanic, sinks in the North Atlantic at 2:20 a.m. Only around 700 people out of the 2,227 passengers and crew on board survive the tragedy.
  • 1922 –  Hindi & Urdu poet and Hindi film lyricist, Filmfare Award winner, Hasrat Jaipuri, is born.

 

  • 1938 – Birth of future Italian film actress, Claudia Cardinale.

 

  • 1959 – Birth of future British actress, Emma Thompson.

 

  • 1989 –  96 people died, and 766 people were injured, when they got crushed, during an FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, UK. The most of any stadium-related disaster in British history.

 

  • 1990 – Future British actress, Emma Watson, was born
Claudia Cardinale

Claudia Cardinale

Today – That Year
Historical Timeline with Nuwan Sen
Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense

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Last night I watched The East (2013), when it was telecast on Star Movies. Directed by Zal Batmanglij, this suspenseful thriller starts off pretty well, but soon starts to falter, and becomes pretty predictable.

Brit Marling & Alexander Skarsgård in 'The East'

Brit Marling & Alexander Skarsgård in ‘The East’

Zal Batmanglij’s The East deals with a group of anarchists, who call themselves ‘The East’, who execute covert operations against major corporations. Brit Marling plays an operative for an elite private intelligence firm, who infiltrates this group to find out information of their intended targets. Here she meets an interesting group of characters who don’t seem as bad as they sound. In fact they seem more like a peace loving group of hippies with great, self-righteous, philosophies. Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell and Shiloh Fernandez play the four main lead anarchist characters. Soon we see the lead character being seduced into loving the anarchist group. But are they actually any better than the conniving evil corporations they target?? The lines are pretty blurred. As I’ve stated many a times in the past, nothing is ever black or white, not even a black and white movie, there’s always shades of grey. So it is, in the case of this movie as well, we can not pin point which side is bad and which is good. Both, the evil firms and this eco-terrorists’ group, have their negative side. It’s morally wrong to side with either of them completely.

The Best thing about the movie are the Jams. Especially the first one, where the radical group dose a pharmaceutical giant, along with all the people in attendance, with his own faulty drug, at a function. But what about other innocent people there?? Aren’t they killing off other ordinary people to teach one company a lesson? Collateral damage?? But who gave them the right to play god??? The pharmaceutical company is wrong to introduce a faulty drug out into market. But that doesn’t make what ‘The East’ does right. A very thought provoking movie. I enjoyed it up to the second jam. Just after the second jam, one of the crucial members of ‘The East’ gets shot (I shan’t give away which one), and consequently another member decides to leave. Post this the movie stars to falter, and becomes pretty predictable.

The whole cast is superb, as is the direction of this movie. Yet the movie could have been so much better. The film also stars Patricia Clarkson, Julia Ormond, Jason Ritter and Billy Magnussen. Rating : 6/10 

The EastNuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Check out what I blogged about today, last year and the year before :-

Bookish Nuwan from 12th April 2012

The American Civil War & Yuri Gagarin from 12th April 2013

Enjoy

Nuwan Sen 🙂

Bookish Nuwan

Nuwan Sen n’ The Space age
Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

I watched five films within the last five days, on TV5 MONDE. All French; Three feature length, two short films; One Canadian-French, four French-French Films. Here are five fast film reviews.

Nicola-Frank Vachon in and as 'Ésimésac (2012)'

Nicola-Frank Vachon in and as ‘Ésimésac (2012)’

Monday: 31/O3/2014: A Man without a Shadow, An Angel Feathering and A Smokers Detoxification.

Ésimésac (2012)
Ésimésac is a magical realism, Canadian-French, Feature Film. The story revolves around a fully grown two year old man, Ésimésac (Nicola-Frank Vachon) who resides in Saint-Élie-de-Caxton. A kind gentle man, with strength enough to pull a massive rock on his own. A man who was born without a shadow, the only reason for him to have an inferiority complex.
In this hunger stricken village, Ésimésac suggests that all get together and build a communal garden. Soon rumours are spread of a new railway stop in their village. Seeing the chance to make themselves rich, lead by the innocent Ésimésac, the village people abandon the garden and set to making cheap railway tracks instead. Only person who isn’t happy with this decision is Ésimésac’s sister. Meanwhile Ésimésac, unhappy at being shadowless, gets the village witch to help him get a shadow of an acorn. Soon that shadow starts to branch out, but at the cost of his sister turning ill and starting to feather, into an angel.
A beautiful piece of magical realism, by director Luc Picard, who also acts in the movie. 7/10

Detox (2012)
Detox is a nine minute short French-French movie, which I watched on Monday night itself, soon after Ésimésac finished. It’s about a man, an ex-smoker (played by Benoit Thiébault), going through a detoxification. While a mechanic (Fabrice Colson), smoking a cigarette, fixes the ex-smoker’s vehicle, the ex-smoker is outside, seated in a bench, under the scorching sun. He is waiting, with his brain boiling, anxious, nervous, tense, as everyone around him in the street smoke away. Will he give in, or won’t he???
Excellent and funny short flick, directed by Julien Bittner. 10/10

Detox and The Supper

Tuesday: 01/O4/2014: A Dialogue between Two Famous Individuals

Le Souper (1992), a.k.a. The Supper
Le Souper, set in France in 1815, just three weeks after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. While Napoleon is in exile, on July 6, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand (Claude Rich), a shrewd politician, invites the chief of police, a revolutionary, Joseph Fouché (Claude Brasseur) for a meal. The two sit down for a private late night dinner, as a revolt is brewing just outside their window. Their conversation ends up being a verbal duel, where they ferociously insult one another, while the political future of France is at stake.
A very enjoyable dialogue between two greatly notorious, power hungry, figures in France. At times boring, at times suspensefully intriguing. Directed by Édouard Molinaro. Based on a play by Jean-Claude Brisville. 8/10

Arthur Dupont as Manu  in 'Bus Palladium' (2010)

Arthur Dupont as Manu in ‘Bus Palladium’ (2010)

Thursday 03/O4/2014: An Eighties Rock-Group, A Blind Artist and A Naked Model

Bus Palladium (2010)
Bus Palladium (2010), is about an eighties rock group, that ends up being destroyed, when two men fall for the same woman. Arthur Dupont is excellent as Manu Pedraza, the lead singer of the group, LUST. The music is mind-blowing. I was just a kid growing up in the 80’s, and the music had a very nostalgic feel. Added to their own music, there were a few famed English background songs from the 70’s as well.
Enjoyable movie, with not necessarily a great story. It wouldn’t have been so good if not for the music. Directed by British born Christopher Thompson. 8/10

Argile (2012), a.k.a. Clay
Argile is the second short film I watched this week. It was shown soon after Bus Palladium, yesterday evening itself. An eighteen minute short film. We see an old woman (Edith Scob) sculpting a figure out of clay. A young male nude model, Alex (Laurent Delbecque) poses. The old woman is blind, thus she has to feel his body with her wrinkled soft hands. Soon it’s not her art that satisfies her hunger.
A aesthetically nice little erotic film, minus any actual nudity or sex. It’s only his shoulders and chest she touches with her clay stained hands, the rest is left to the imagination. A beautifully done, excellent, short film. 10/10

Laurent Delbecque as Alex in 'Argile' (2012), a.k.a. 'Clay'

Laurent Delbecque as Alex in ‘Argile’ (2012), a.k.a. ‘Clay’

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Untitled

We all know that Alfred Hitchcock had a penchant for blondes, yet he had wanted to actually work with Audrey Hepburn. Now it’s been confirmed, that he had actually started work on a film, back in the mid-1950’s, starring Audrey Hepburn in the lead, set in Paris, but the film never got completed. The film was temporarily titled, The Mysterious Disappearance of a Bride-to-be.

Audrey Hepburn Hitchcock

The Synopsis
To start off, the blonde victim in this movie, for change was not a female character, like in most Hitchcock films, but a male. None other than Roger Moore (a virtual unknown at the time) in a brief appearance, whose character gets killed off just the night before his wedding. Elizabeth Taylor too has a cameo as Moore’s fiancée.
The plot deals with Audrey Hepburn, playing detective, after her best friend (Elizabeth Taylor), goes missing hours after Moore’s character’s death. After going through a cornucopia of mysterious events, Hepburn’s character discovers that the puzzling trail leads back to none other than both, Hepburn’s character’s own ex-husband and current husband (supposedly to be played by Gregory Peck and Anthony Perkins, respectively).

Roger Moore Hitchcock

Elizabeth Taylor Hitchcock

Unfortunately the film couldn’t be completed in the 50’s, and by 1963 Hitchcock wanted to re-start the project, after completing The Birds (1963), and Hepburn having finished working on Charade (1963), and Taylor on Cleopatra (1963). Due to various other commitments, both the raven haired beauties had to decline the offer. Thus Hitchcock went on to work on his next project, Marnie (1964), with Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren. A pity, otherwise this spy thriller would have made for an enjoyable piece of Cinema.
The film footage was located in a vault of a retired American Professor, residing in Paris. Of course by now, some of you might have guessed that this is a story I concocted, for today, April fools day. And some of you might not have been so clever. I wish for the latter. Ha!! Happy April Fools Day.

Cheers
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
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